Concerning Recent Game Translation Activities

September 1st, 2016

  

I hope you like disappointment.

As was (irritatingly) revealed by Twitter at large two months ago, I began working on translating Baldr Sky some time in 2015. This wasn't predicated on me suddenly discovering a love for the game as much as it was attempting to work on Baldr Force and the entire thing crashing in a blue-screen hot mess multiple times before I could even get out of the prologue. I put far too much stock in the belief that the writing gets better the less brain damage Kou starts with each progressive route, and that the tools were in more or less a decent shape. That was an extremely stupid thing of me to do on all fronts.

It astonishingly only manages to get worse as the characters begin (continue?) acting with no regard for sense while going "Maybe in another world or another time and place, we could've taken 15 seconds to explain things and everything would be different." And that's when it's not just pulling deus ex machinas out of its ass while going "Gee, it must have been a miracle." At least the toolset is in a fairly decent situation now. There are still some obvious issues that remain unresolved, but nothing major… at least unless you're trying to put out something that looks 100% professional.

   

But that's enough about my disdain for the writing. After all, I despise Seinarukana's writing/characters so very much more and its official tools are nigh-unworkable, and Bunny Black wouldn't even make my top five Softhouse Chara games. It's been two months since the announcement that BS would be officially localized, but the open question still remains: "By whom?" I remain under no contract to anybody. I learned about the licensing from the announcement from AnimeExpo, same as everyone else. While I have received a very small handful of e-mails from Sekai Project, and I have no doubt whatsoever that the license was obtained primarily due to the tools Doddler and Nagato created, as well as my own significant work on it, Sekai Project has yet to make any kind of substantive offer to work with us to translate/release the game(s). Or anything vaguely in the ballpark. We made an offer to them (which was flatly rejected for reasons that remain unclear to us even after expliclty asking), and they did make an 'offer' to give us a grossly inadequate sum of money to hand over everything we've done and walk away, after being told at the very beginning that doing so was completely out of the question. That was a toughie to consider.

It's been over eight weeks now, and I have done literally no translation work on it, or anything else, in that time because I don't know what the future of the project is. Mostly, I've played Overwatch. Badly. The most recent communication from Sekai Project was that we should "step away from it for a little while and come back next month." This was in response to an e-mail from me saying not-so-politely that "I'm concerned about the lack of communication," which was itself a followup to a more polite e-mail from Doddler pointing out that we're frustrated because they're not communicating with us… which had gone ignored for the better part of a week. The solution to the issue of poor communication is, clearly, no communication. That's merely the tip of the iceberg.

   

I'm under no illusion that airing (just one of) my grievances publicly will spark any kind of peasant's revolt, nor will it ingratiate myself to them, but that ship's apparently long since sailed. This has gone on long enough and caused me enough stress. The situation hasn't changed at all for two months and counting. Being as that I'm not contracted to Sekai Project, nor anybody else, I'm beholden to only myself to do what I think is right and best. For me. So as of now, the project's in indefinite abeyance and I'm moving on to something else. I'm not entirely sure what yet. Maybe I'll take another swing at getting Baldr Force to work using one of the alternate PC releases since clearly nobody cares about that game. Maybe I'll revive Prism Ark or Alternative Sphere's aborted projects. Maybe I'll pray somebody can fix the engine's text display issue before I finish some SHChara game. Maybe I'll do something else entirely. I'm not taking requests.

Maybe I'll come back to Baldr Sky in the future, but I honestly can't say when it'll be, or for certain that it'll happen. I've tried. We've tried. We really, really have, but at this point, getting that ball rolling is on Sekai Project to start communicating with us in ways that they haven't to date, and then we can start dealing with everything else. So long as we keep getting stonewalled, it's impossible for any conversation to even begin. I personally think they're woefully underestimating the amount of work the game needs, both in translation and on the technical side, and it's… disconcerting… for them to be this obstructive instead of trying to make any effort to work with a group that already has the tools, the knowhow, and the scripts/interface significantly more translated than not. Especially after what that group has already done for them.

  

I apologize if anybody thought my involvement or Dive 1's (script) translation having been finished for the better part of a year would lead to any kind of speedy release, but that's clearly not happening from my perspective. There's no danger of the work done so far being lost, short of an EMP detonating over the entirety of the Northern American continent, at which point I'd postulate that there are more pressing concerns.

Hopefully the next update I have about anything game translation-related won't suck as much. For all of us. Enjoy some foxes. Or don't. Peace out, bitches.

      

Posted in Baldr Sky | 28 Comments »

28 Shouts From the Peanut Gallery

  • PP2 says:

    Cats are better.

    Aroduc says:

    Cats that look like Ron Swanson, or all cats?

  • anise_punter says:

    “I hope you like disappointment.”

    Part of your core readership watches 2016 Japanese animation so I don’t think there’s any worry that we don’t.

  • FoxyGoodness says:

    Less fake foxgirls and more Tamano no Mae next time.

    Also, “they’re woefully underestimating the amount of work the game needs…”
    Woefully underestimating everything is part of Sekai’s corporate culture, didn’t you know? Woefully underestimating how much work their kickstarters would cost them, woefully underestimating how much time it actually takes to release a game, woefully underestimating the scope of Bladr Sky, etc…

    Fuck Sekai.

  • Anonymous says:

    some of these are wolfgirls, please fix

    Aroduc says:

    That’s fox-adjacent.

    …Fox-adjacent enough.

  • Recolate says:

    Sekai has communication issues in general it seems–not just with their business partners. They have some of the worst public relations I have ever seen in a company.

    Best of luck with your future projects, Aroduc. Hopefully they aren’t nearly as much as a headache as this one was.

  • Anonymous says:

    In the next update we need more Tamamo.
    And good luck, Aroduck (yes, is intentional).

  • Sanjuro says:

    This post needs more Tokyo Ravens based fox girls.

    I don’t think anyone read your first post and didn’t think that Sekai wasn’t at fault. It’s just sad that they’ve wasted so much of you and your team’s time and hard-work.

  • Anonymous says:

    It shouldn’t surprise me at this point but well, it does. A new low in terms of in inadequacy.

    (Thanks for the foxes btw)

  • XReaper says:

    you should have went for try doing baldr force´s dreamcast version instead, emu works fine & game itself crashes less, but either way there´s no merit in mourning over a corpse that´s already rotten, just dont let it get to you (what a fuckingly poor advice, i know, i know…) and keep going!

  • CoffeeFlux says:

    Sad to hear about this… it’s a nasty situation all around. If you still have interest in force, I’ve been playing the ps2 version in pcsx2 without issue. I haven’t looked at it, so it might be somewhat annoying to make tools for, but shouldn’t be impossible.

    Aroduc says:

    I already have access to a couple different versions of tools (Duel Savior was done on some of them). The problem with Force is that the engine does not handle modern systems well at all. Above and beyond being unable to play windowed in anything but 16-color, it’s just ridiculously unstable and crashes all the time.

    Anon says:

    Did you try using a wine wrapper?
    http://adolfintel.com/?p=wined3d/index.frag
    Using the stable version I managed to get Duel Savior to run in windows 10, though windowed mode is still out of the question. You need to do what the readme says and do a bit of hex editing and run the program under windows 7 compatibility mode, but I haven’t had many problems with it.

    Aroduc says:

    I have not. I suppose that’s an idea. It might be a little much to reasonable expect people to do, but so was anything/everything for DS.

    Anon says:

    If it works for you (and on multiple systems), you could probably have everything in the patch by including the wine dlls and the hexhedited exe. Would mean the average user wouldn’t have to mess around other than compatibility mode stuff.

    CoffeeFlux says:

    Didn’t PS2s use an 18-bit palatte? Or is the reason you have to use software rendering for the game because it uses a nonstandard bitdepth?

    Also, maybe I’ve just gotten lucky, but the only time it crashes on win10 is when an admin permission prompt appears, and I suspect that’s an issue with pcsx2 itself rather than the game.

    sanahtlig says:

    I don’t recall having any issues with Baldr Force EXE crashing in Windows 7. I haven’t actually played the game in Windows 10 yet, but a hacker named binaryfail fixed the launch issue with Windows 8 and Windows 10 (I tested it and the game launches and loads a saved game correctly). The fix also allows the game to start in 32-bit color with earlier operating systems. So this problem you encountered seems to be solved.

    Baldr Force EXE dxdraw fix
    https://www.mediafire.com/?ulp7xude0g83kkb

  • mm says:

    Thanks for sharing info about what’s happening with us <3

  • Skys says:

    I was never a fan of Sekai Project in the first place. While I care about H-Content the least in a VN their whole business-model disgusts me, it just says a lot about their company in general. Not to mention the bit of drama that happened a while back with I think Imouto Works? Personally I’d like to compare them in a strange way to EA in terms of being one of the ‘big’ puplishers that make Eroges/VNs popular in the west. Just wait until we have to pay extra to unlock extra routes… .

  • Anonymous says:

    I’d be lying if I didn’t get enjoyment out of things going awry for Sekai, but it’s a shame you and the others involved haven’t at least gotten something positive out of things.

    I hope whatever you work on next is pain free.

  • Soulgaine says:

    If Sekai Project being run by children wasn’t already evident enough with their other projects.

  • Anonymous says:

    Thanks for finally making this post. It’s a shame that things have been going so horribly. What does this put the unreleased script count up to, 3 full scripts and 2 partials?

    Aroduc says:

    Dive 1 at 100%, Dive 2 at ~35%, and PA at around 33%, although I did technically release that last one. It’s just in a nigh unusable format and mostly broken.

    Seinarukana and LWR finally coming out cleared things out a bit.

  • Shinmarizu says:

    Sorry to hear about your experiences; it’s obvious that SP doesn’t really seem to care.

    Also, I have always appreciated your fanservice posts. More is always welcome.

  • gustave154 says:

    More evidence that Sekai Project is a bane to the VN localisation industry. Good luck on your future endeavours Aroduc.

    9/11 in Japan says:

    BANE?

  • NightShadow2239 says:

    Shucks… well thanks for the update though.